Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07), author of the Advancing Innovation and Reinvigorating Widespread Access to Viable Electromagnetic Spectrum Act or AIRWAVES Act, today hailed the release of a new economic study by the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) suggesting the bill could generate billions in economic activity and create 9,700 new jobs.
"Several provisions of my bipartisan AIRWAVES bill are now estimated to deliver billions in economic growth from expansion of rural connectivity. The Internet is the lifeblood of today's economy and passage of AIRWAVES will keep up the economic boom fueled by 21st Century connectivity. AIRWAVES is going to bring new and better coverage by helping deploy 5G networks, resulting in an explosion of economic growth. We're also going to reduce the rural coverage gap dramatically and deliver reliable service that many consumers are waiting for," said Lance.
Lance is the Vice Chair of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee and introduced the AIRWAVES Act earlier this year with Congressman Doyle (PA-18) and 52 other bipartisan cosponsors. The measure seeks to have the federal government free up additional spectrum for commercial use and use a portion of the proceeds of spectrum auctions to help close the urban-rural digital divide. Spectrum is the "virtual highway' connecting consumers with high-speed Internet.
The CCA report specifically cites, "In consequence, additional 4G coverage derived from AIRWAVES investment will grow output by up to $2.45 billion in agriculture, $ 6.56 billion in health care, and $1.75 billion in transportation. Within a more likely scenario, the impact would be $ 1.25 billion in agriculture, $ 3.35 billion in health care, and $ 0.89 billion in transportation." It estimates the measure will also reduce rural coverage gap by 12-24% - a major jump in high-quality service to unserved areas. These numbers are for only two of many provisions in the bill, which is also expected to create significantly more economic growth by unleashing 5G wireless networks.